The College of Media & Communication strives to provide inclusive education opportunities. Such opportunities often require access to online learning, which has become an imperative tool in the Digital Age. Now, current or prospective students can complete two CoMC degrees entirely online, regardless of location, professional status, or exterior responsibilities.
Following a rebranding process, the Department of Public Relations & Strategic Communication Management (PRSC) launched their online degree program this fall. Using various forms of communication, those who major in public relations & strategic communication management learn to manage the relationships that are necessary for an organization's success.
Although the goal of the degree is nothing new, the ability to access CoMC courses from anywhere in the world brings brand new versatility to students.
“Over the last several years, we have heard from people across the state of Texas who never finished their degree because of things like the pandemic,” said Eric Rasmussen, Ph.D., associate professor and department chair. “They can't come to campus and participate in the traditional student experience, so we wanted to provide a way for them to improve their skills and make themselves more marketable.”
Rasmussen holds clear objectives for the PRSC degree. He says their curriculum is not meant to simply teach students how to write, design and plan strategic messaging, but also impact their communities for the greater good.
PRSC students are exposed to topics like media relations, digital and social media, data analysis and more. Among the core classes, students have myriad electives to tailor their education to their professional goals, whether that means working for a sports team or a non-profit organization.
“Our students become strategic storytellers,” said Rasmussen. “Every organization has a story that needs to be told in a strategic way to help the organization reach its goals. That's what our students do. That's what they learn in our program.”
Much like the PRSC department, the Department of Professional Communication prides itself on preparing their students for any industry. Their online degree ensures anyone can partake.
The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media and Professional Communication (DMPC) can be completed exclusively online, as well as a minor in professional communication. With this 120-hour degree, students start by completing foundational courses in professional communication. They then enhance that foundation by choosing courses from across the college to create their own degree plans to match their unique goals and interests.
Professor and Chairperson Kelli Cargile-Cook, Ph.D., has been studying online and distance learning since her days as a doctoral student. With her research and teaching experience, she has helped the department optimize their online offerings.
“We have built this degree to attract students who want to work in corporate communication of some kind,” said Cargile-Cook, “and it has been designed from the beginning to appeal to students both inside and outside of Lubbock.”
Although the degree is still young, Cargile-Cook has seen alumni go on to work for independent school districts, police departments and finance organizations.
What makes the DMPC online path intriguing for distance students is the modality. Online students are delivered virtually to in-person lectures as if they were sitting with the students present in the classroom.
“You're in the class with Lubbock students,” said Cargile-Cook. “You can take the same test, hear the same lectures, have the same discussions. You're engaging in the same way and in real-time with your faculty.”
Distance learning has come a long way since the days of the Flying Professors, a group of faculty at Texas Tech University who flew to nearby towns to help provide education outside Lubbock. Almost 60 years later, the innovation continues.
Todd Chambers, Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate affairs, recognizes the changing landscape of higher education and says it will continue to change. Come the start of the 2023 academic year, CoMC will further its inclusive mission by adding another online degree program.
“At the start of next school year, our Communication Studies degree will be available entirely online, and we could not be happier about it,” said Chambers. “The online space at Texas Tech has mostly been graduate programs because the assumption is you are a working professional. We think undergraduates should have the choice, too.”
Learn more about CoMC course offerings, or sign up for an advising appointment today.
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